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Trip Report 50 Firsts for the 50th Anniversary

Hi Everyone! First time trip reporter here. This is all I expected for DW’s 50th Anniversary. I even sent a text to my children in college about how we were celebrating the 50th Anniversary via Happy Meals.


But dreams do come true and in November 2022 my DH annd I were able to experience the 50th Anniversary in person!


As a first time trip reporter I feel a little like a new kid…

Uh Oh Help GIF by Dora and the Lost City of Gold

…on the block

live music dancing GIF by Live Nation

Before I talk about our trip thank you for your reports! They have been a bright spot in this crazy world! I enjoy seeing all the different ways you celebrate your time at Disney. Many times I want to compliment the writer on their photo or their activity….. and now I can :). (To find out a little more about me just look under New Member Introductions.)

Back in September 2021 I was content with Happy Meal toys and reading trip reports. As we progressed through 2022 and life got somewhat more settled I wanted/needed a vacation outside our home preferably with warm weather and palm trees. DH and I both had plenty of vacation; some of which we had to use by the end of the year. And so we decided it was Disney Time!

Honestly as a WDW guest over several decades I was unhappy with most recent changes/price gouging. I thought we‘d stay away longer in protest but my need for a vacation especially one that is somewhat easy to plan won out and we decided to try Disney again. Yes, some Disney policies and IT stinks but at least we managed to set up a trip.

Pretend the following is the pre trip report.

I like to come up with a theme for our Disney trips. This would be the adults trip. This would be the first trip without our children who are now in college. At first they were surprised we were taking a vacation without them but then were happy and supportive we were taking time for ourselves especially because we had just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary a few months earlier.

We started planning in early June 2022 and decided to visit in early November 2022. We liked the idea that we could still enjoy the warm weather compared to home. We knew it would be Disney Marathon Weekend and Jersey Week but knew the crowds would keep increasing for the holidays so decided we would take our chances.

We decided to get park tickets for four days with park hoppers. Really miss those prices from 1978!



In June there was not much availability for November unless we wanted to take out a second mortgage. We find crazy hotel price increases less surprising now that our children are in college - unfortunately it’s not just Disney. We narrowed it down to hotels all new to us - two of the Values (can’t remember which ones) or Riverside. We went with a woods view at Riverside because of the boat to Disney Springs and evening entertainment of Yee Haw Bob at Riverside and jazz at French Quarter.

With our children we have had the medium dining plan. We found it worthwhile with hungry teenagers although sometimes limiting in terms of choice. This trip we wanted to try new restaurants. We knew the Food & Wine Festival would be open too. We had perused the booth menus and decided if the opportunity presented itself we would try something. Truth be told Buffalo has a great Taste of Buffalo festival every July and WingFest around Labor Day along with numerous town food festivals so it wasn’t a priority.

Without the pay ahead feature of the meal plan I tried something new and bought gift cards. I started small to see if we liked this method. I bought three $50 gift cards at BJ’s Wholesale Club. I paid $144.99 saving a whoppping $5.01. I’ve got you now Disney!!

Scrooge Mcduck GIF

We’ve flown Delta and JetBlue but United was significantly cheaper so we booked with them through AAA.com. We were flying from Buffalo to Newark to Orlando both ways. We were disappointed in the cancellation of Magic Express and were examining all our options.

Because of our limited park time we were planning on buying Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. We told our children we were going to write notes to their professors and work supervisors to excuse them at any time if we needed help with our cell phones! (We didn’t need any help but I did practice.)

DH is very laid back. After our first trip he requested one day of pool time. On our second trip he got 3 hours of pool time. I told him pool time was like dog years - 3 hours of pool time equaled 6 hours in the real world! How much pool time would he get this trip?? 🤔 He also requested some sit down restaurants and time to wander through the Epcot countries. Notice how all of his requests can be accomplished while consuming adult beverages? Score!

Here was our tentative agenda:

Wednesday, Nov. 2:
  • Arrive MCO around 2pm
  • Late Lunch at Riverside FQ
  • Get Settled and Explore the Grounds (something we haven’t done enough of before)
  • Drinks at Riverside or French Quarter

Thursday, Nov. 3:
  • Hollywood Studios
  • Early Dinner - Brown Derby
  • Park Hop to Epcot for Harmonious

Friday, Nov. 4:
  • Epcot
  • Park Hop to Magic Kingdom
  • Dinner at The Plaza
  • Enchantment

Saturday, Nov. 5:
  • Pool Day!
  • Disney Springs
  • Dinner at The Boathouse
  • Drinks at Riverside or French Quarter

Sunday, Nov. 6:
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Park Hop to MK
  • Dinner at Be Our Guest
  • Enchantment

Monday, Nov. 7:
  • Hollywood Studios
  • Park Hop to Epcot
  • Dinner at Todd English’s Blue Zoo at The Dolphin

Depart late morning Tuesday, Nov. 8. :(

Here are a few things I think you need to prepare for a Disney trip:
  • Stock up on glow bands. It gets dark in the park!
  • Have one t-shirt which promotes where you are from. Be it a specific location or sports team. It helps promote conversation with CMs and your fellow line goers.
  • Brush up on your Disney movies. In this case we watched Coco (loved the message about family) and Ratatouille (okay, not quite finished)
Isn’t it great to have Disney plans? Being able to view them anytime always makes a bad day better! And what else makes the trip better than…


DH got the new version. I stuck w/the old version which celebrated the 50th anniversary. We had older bands but wanted to make sure our ride photos would show up.

Some Last Minute Trip Adjustments:
  • A few months before we left United changed our return flights. We would be flying from Orlando to Chicago to Buffalo. We would be leaving an hour earlier and arriving in Buffalo only 45 minutes later than originally scheduled. We said fine.
  • We dropped the reservations at The Brown Derby - HS and The Plaza Restaurant - MK so we could get more park time. We figured we could always try and get last minute reservations.
  • Best yet - the parks were starting to be decorated for Christmas! Based on our research we thought we would miss it. Added bonus!

Thank you for reading! Next up - Arrival Day!


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Tiki Traveler

Original Poster
Great start! And welcome to the site!

Im So Happy Comic Con GIF by IMDb

Pre trip report done

Looking forward to this one

My first visit was to Magic Kingdom in Florida in 1979 - so I can relate to your two day pass


Do you remember trying to select your top tier attractions from the ticket book? Kind of like today but in different form!

Nice start, I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Following along!!


In and following!

Pop Tv Thank You GIF by Schitt's Creek

Love This GIF by Judge Judy

Also, here for the fun (and adult beverages, apparently).



Tiki Traveler

Original Poster
Your writing style and strong GIF game belie the fact that this is your first trip report! I'm totally in!
Pop Tv Cell Phone GIF by Schitt's Creek's Creek

Thank you! The other trip reports were great examples!

Welcome! And looking forward to hearing more!!

Thank U GIF by Idil Keysan

The haircut or the gaze?? The gaze or the haircut?? 😨😨

Count me in too!

Great start. I remember the old tickets from our first visit in 1980 and still have them. What a blast from the past.

Buzz Lightyear Berlin GIF

Tiki Traveler

Original Poster
Arrival - Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022

Up around 3:30 am to catch a 7:25 am flight. Haven’t flown United in awhile but this plane seemed to have seat space problems from years ago. I’m average height and have no leg room. Hoping the next, longer flight will be better.

Me on the flight to Newark.

Big Brother Sarah GIF by Big Brother Australia


Comfort Zone GIF by Peloton

Fortunately the flight from Newark to Orland had leg room. We stepped off the plane at 1:50 pm as scheduled. We had completed mobile checkin and received a text at 1:30 pm that our room was ready.

tony the tiger swerk GIF

We then went down to the first floor and checked in to Magical Express. WRONG! :mad: So I spent way too much time reading reviews and exploring all our transfer options. At one point hitchhiking from MCO looked good. The only consolation was that we could always Uber.

Ultimately we wanted extremely easy so we booked a private car with Orlando Chauffeured Services. I found them on the internet. About a month before we left I filled out their online form and then waited and waited. Okay it was about a week but I was impatient. I called and the manager told me they were having problems with their online form and took my information over the phone. They eMailed the ride confirmations immediately after we hung up.

They eMailed a reminder before our departure and our driver texted us at the airport. We were to meet them at baggage claim. All of the drivers were waiting at the bottom of the escalator. From the escalator we could see a man holding an IPad with our name on it.

Our driver was wearing a suit and was extremely professional. He took our bags from the luggage carousel and led us to a passage behind the escalator. Right through the doorway was a road with all the private vehicles lined up. (Basically the busses are on one side of the building and the private cars on the other.)

We rode in a black Cadillac. There was ice water waiting for us. The weather was humid so it was great to be in air conditioning again. We listened to light jazz and made small talk. We had spent about a total of 15 minutes in the airport. Yes, this was easy.

Skylar Astin Love GIF by The Roku Channel

Yes, that was pretty much me at that point (and I was only drinking water 😁 ).

So far:
our flights had been - very good
our car service had been excellent

So how would our hotel be?? I had set the bar pretty low. We had stayed in many hotels in the last few years visiting colleges and then college students. Just in case, I brought a few older wash clothes, hand towels and a bulk can of cleaning wipes. These had all come in handy during other hotel stays.

Ben Stiller Yes GIF by Apple TV+

Our room was in Magnolia Terrace Building 85 - Room 87?9 maybe Room 8739? Sorry. A little confusing because the room number doesn’t start with the building number. After placing our luggage on a trolley we found, our driver offered to stay and help us find our room but we declined. We knew we were close.

And then…

the princess and the frog happy dance GIF

Flight, airport transfer and now hotel — Travel Trifecta! We were on the second floor, third door to the right. Looking out from the balcony was a beautiful view of the gazebo and river and we were close to the main building!


I moved the pillows to show the pretty headboard.


I love these room setups. We had stayed at French Quarter in June 2018 after the renovation and the Riverside rooms were the same layout. Seriously if I could stay in all future hotels with this layout I would.

I think the privacy curtain between the bathroom and sleeping area is great. There is plenty of room on and under the sink (plus a lighted magnifying mirror). There is great storage under the bed and a nice small sitting area. Also our room was extremely clean. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. There wasn’t even a mark on the walls. Did they just repaint? If so, there wasn’t any paint smell.

There was only one thing missing - our children. Our first family trip had been to French Quarter so this room brought back a lot of memories. Raising kind and independent children is the end goal, right? But boy, does time go fast... So do me a favor, stop reading this and go give your child a hug or a kiss. 😘

After informing our children we had arrived we headed to the Riverside Mill Food Court for a late lunch. I had the prime rib sandwich and french fries while DH had the salmon, rice and green beans. We also bought our first souvenirs of the trip.


During our trip we felt the mugs were smaller so the Pyrex measuring cup in the background is proof of my semi-scientific study that all of the drink mugs do indeed hold 14 oz. of liquids. The new mugs just have a slightly altered shape. And wouldn’t someone have complained on the internet before now about a smaller mug? ;)

After lunch we visited the front desk where we picked up a resort map and learned about the internal bus system. Remember for Riverside West is best because it’s the first bus stop. However, the East bus stop was right behind our building.

We also picked up Anniversary buttons. I had read that some resorts were short on buttons but during our stay I saw people wearing all the button designs.

It was great to finally experience the resort in person. We had watched YouTube videos and I had done a lot of Internet research but one thing we discovered was the small ponds in front of some of the Alligator Bayou buildings. These are the pictures I most regret not taking. Great theming!

We checked out most of the resort including the main pool and fishing pond. We stopped back at our room and finished settling in.

Then we walked over to French Quarter. It was twilight and so pretty with the boats chugging down the Sassagoula river and the horse drawn carriages clip clopping by. We smiled at the people sitting along the river and discussed joining the marshmallow roast just starting.


We checked out the expanded bar and beignet restaurant. The Disney web site said jazz bands only played Friday and Saturday nights but the bartender I asked said bands now played Wednesdays through Saturdays.

On our arrival day at French Quarter we were stuck in our room for a couple hours due to torrential rains. We later learned the event qualified as a small hurricane. History repeated itself to a lesser degree as the rains came down while we were discussing what to do next.

The rains made the decision for us. We sat outside the Sassagoula Floatworks under a covered awning, watched the rain and listened to piped in jazz. We had brought our drink mugs to enjoy the rare FreeCycle Coke machines. (Sugar free lemonade with cherry or raspberry is my favorite.) Eventually we split an order of jambalaya.

Here are a few pictures before the rain.


We had brought our rain ponchos but weren’t in any hurry. It was nice to relax after a long travel day. After about an hour the rain tapered off and we walked back to Riverside. We had an early morning tomorrow with rope drop at HS.

15,112 steps - 6.4 miles

Thanks for reading! Next Up - A Rookie not Wookie Mistake

Tiki Traveler

Original Poster
Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 - A Rookie Not Wookie Mistake

Finally our first day back at Disney! The plan was to rope drop HS so we ate the standard in room breakfast of yogurt, granola bars and fruit. I purchased Genie+ bright and early for $15 each. (I waffled about a trip report while on vacation so I failed to record the following days‘ prices but know this was the lowest.)

I purchased two LL for SWROTR for early afternoon but using Genie+ couldn’t get Slinky Dog until 5:50pm.

mickey mouse fantasia GIF by Disney

This was Fantasmic’s reopening day. Here are the stages of a Disney fan before a ride opening/reopening. ;)
  • In June - “Wouldn’t it be great if Fantasmic opened during our vacation? Especially since we’ve never seen it before.”
  • Before Trip when Opening is Announced - “It’s opening night. How fun. Whatever it takes.”
  • Shortly Before Trip when Lines are Predicted to Start 3 hours before show - “Forget it”.

HS early entry started at 8am. Our goal was to be at the Riverside East bus stop at 7am. We got to the bus stop later than planned around 7:25am. East was the third bus stop on the resort loop but a bus arrived promptly and there was plenty of room. Also, plenty of wet seats as it had rained earlier and the bus windows were open. The bus driver didn’t have any towels. We sat on the edge of the least wet seats. The bus filled up at the last stop in front of the Riverside gift shop.

I knew we would miss rope drop but hoped for some early entry time. It took time to get off the bus. Most people were far ahead.

My thoughts - Yeah! Back at Disney! And it’s decorated for Christmas! I can see the entrance! First stop MMRR!

A security guard pointed left and I saw a small stream of people walking that way. But there is a big group of people at the main gate! And it’s decorated for Christmas! And we’re finally back!!!

The main gates pulled me in like a tractor beam.

Star Trek Space GIF by Star Trek Fleet Command

Have you figured out what I did? For the uninitiated I should have followed the security guard and gone left to entry early with the other resort guests. Instead I placed us smack in the crowd waiting for the main gates to open at 8:30am.

return of the jedi episode 6 GIF by Star Wars

After about five minutes I realized the crowd wasn’t moving and what I had done. It was about 8:20am. We didn’t see the security guard or anyone walking to the left anymore so we decided to wait it out. It was a long 10 minutes….

Then as the line started to move and we approached the entry gates we realized we weren’t really in a line and had to try and merge into another line. Fun. At last we tapped in and were ready to start our first post Covid vacation, right?

Wrong. We both got tagged by security. Whomp, whomp, whomp. So we waited in another line for bag check. At least it looked like everyone else walking through the gates was having fun.🙄

Fear not, the force was with us and we were able to walk right on to our first ride - MMRR and even catch the pre show. I could dance with Daisy all day!


Now is the time I assure you we are not in witness protection. We’re just a little shy and not active on social media. Posting our TR is kinda big so we’re taking baby steps.

Star Wars‘ area was bigger than expected. Luckily we grabbed a HS map. The wait for MFSR was only 25 minutes so we got in line. It grew to 35 minutes but the theming was terrific so time passed quickly. We were paired with a German couple about our age. They were the pilots. I was the gunner and DH was the engineer. LOVED IT even more than expected! For all being first timers and missing two people I am proud that we did not crash. When we walked out the wait was 50 minutes.


As we were getting pictures taken Storm Troopers approached us. The PP photographer snapped away as I asked the Storm Troopers if they wanted to join us and of course, received a snarky reply.


As I had read online all of the PPPs seemed more chatty than previous visits. Also, many other CMs went out of their way to wish us a happy anniversary. It’s a nice touch but it’s not costing Disney anything.

This is our sad attempt to spell LOVE. Unlike MK and EPCOT, the second SW PPP took both regular photos and zoom video. The zoom videos are a fun addition.


Trying to stay ahead of the crowds we lunched at 11:30am at Backlot Express. We mobile ordered the Teriyaki Chicken Bowl (me), Southwest Salad w/Chicken (DH) and a Diet Coke. The weather was great so we sat outside.

We had about a 50% success rate with the 50th anniversary statues. I think the entertainment factor is more in watching people wave their arms around. I’m also waiting to hear there’s a $2 charge for the 30 second statue spiel.


The Miss Piggy fountain was working and we finally saw MuppetVision.


At last it was time for SWROTR. Pretty amazing. I’d prefer a few less video screens but that ride is easily addictive.

Thanks for reading. Up Next - Fantastic not Fantasmic
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